Solstice fonts

A strange thing about getting old is that there are things I do which I haven’t actually done for years. For example, I make fonts but it’s been almost six years since I actually released one.

I happened to look in an old folder yesterday and saw two half-made handwriting fonts, things I had scribbled years ago. A few hours of work finished them out, and I released them today as Mogrus and Tropical Luge. Unlike some of my made-to-task fonts, these are for nothing in particular. By the same dint, they can be for anything whatsoever.

Specimens for the fonts Mogrus Allcaps and Tropical Luge

On writing and thinking

My forthcoming paper On trusting chatbots is centrally about the challenge of believing claims that appear in LLM output. I am sceptical about the prospects of AI-generated summaries of facts, but I also throw a bit of shade on the suggestion that AI should be used for brainstorming and conjuring up early drafts. Sifting through bullshit is not like editing in the usual sense, I suggest.

Nevertheless, I know people who advocate using chatbots for early drafts of formulaic things like work e-mails and formal proposals. That’s fine, I suppose, but only for the sorts of things where one might just as well find some boilerplate example on-line and use that as a starting place. For anything more original, there’s a real danger in letting a chatbot guide early writing.

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The tangled web

In which I find myself unironically missing old, hard-copy Yellow Pages.

I came into the possession of a vintage sport coat which was in excellent condition except for several strata of dust on the shoulders, from hanging unused but uncovered for decades. The care instructions say dry clean only, so I went looking for a dry cleaner. The internet suggested there were several near me. On further examination, however, one was shuttered up. Another had remodeled and become just a regular laundromat.

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Listening habits

I posted recently on Mastodon that, when I hear new material by a musician I like, I often have to give it a second listen before I can tell what I think about it. Good or bad, it lacks the familiar and nostalgic contours of their old stuff.

For music that doesn’t command an antecedent commitment, I probably won’t push through and listen enough to acquire an appreciation for it. I only listened to Taylor Swift enough to have opinions because I was thinking about her project of recording. And I only listened all the way through the new Beyoncé album because I was thinking about genre.1

Lots of things bounce off because I only give them half a listen. That’s always been true to an extent, but moreso these days. Being able to stream almost everything has the up side that I can make a deep dive into anything. But the down side of that same availability is that anything new-to-me has to compete for my attention against literally everything else. There is not even the inertia of changing the channel or swapping out the disc.


Via Daily Beast and Daily Nous: The administration at Boston University has made a number of tone-deaf suggestions for how faculty can juggle students while their graduate student TAs are on strike. Among these: “Engage generative AI tools to give feedback or facilitate ‘discussion’ on readings or assignments.”

Last year, I wrote that “there will be people who lose their jobs because of generative algorithms. This won’t be because they can be replaced, but instead because of rapacious capitalism. To put it in plainer terms, because their management is a bunch of dicks.”

Dots. Connected.